What it Means to Cross

Interview by Sarah Klearman

Carmen*, who is originally from Southern Mexico, crossed the border illegally almost 10 years ago. She's now married and has two children, ages 8 and 6, and lives with her Aunt Graciela in East San Jose. She works alongside Graciela as a maid in a hotel. 

This interview was translated into English from Spanish.

"I have almost all my family and my siblings here, but it was difficult. My mom separated from my father, and then she brought us here one by one. She paid a coyote. I know it can be very difficult to cross if you don’t come with someone that you know. I crossed with my oldest uncle, and sometimes the coyotes would try and separate us one from the other. They wanted me to cross with other women, but we came together with the other men. My uncle said I had to be with him the entire time. There’s so much violence by the border."

*name changed